- For Immediate Release:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced the following actions taken in its ongoing response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The agency issued a new FDA Voices, titled Pandemic Challenges Highlight the Importance of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety, and bylined by Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs, and Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. In March, the FDA was a few days away from announcing the release of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint when the FDA’s focus turned to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans for the New Era initiative were rightfully put on hold in order to prioritize the agency’s COVID-19 response. The FDA will release the blueprint in the coming weeks, outlining plans over the next decade to create a more digital, traceable, and safer food system.
- The FDA published guidance, titled Institutional Review Board (IRB) Review of Individual Patient Expanded Access Requests for Investigational Drugs and Biological Products During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Guidance for IRBs and Clinical Investigators, which includes recommendations regarding procedures for single IRB member review. This is in response to physician requests for a waiver from the requirement for full IRB review. The guidance recommendations also address factors to consider when assessing potential benefits and risks for a particular patient being treated under expanded access.
- The FDA added a second ventilator developed by NASA to the list of authorized ventilators, ventilator tubing connectors and ventilator accessories under the ventilator emergency use authorization (EUA) that was issued in response to concerns relating to insufficient supply and availability of FDA-cleared ventilators for use in health care settings to treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NASA VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally) is intended to last three to four months and is specifically tailored to provide respiratory support for COVID-19 patients who are experiencing respiratory failure or insufficiency. Where the first NASA ventilator relied on wall gas as the pressure source, the second ventilator uses an internal compressor for its energy source. The device is designed to be built with components outside the current medical device supply chain and therefore does not impact the existing supply chain of currently made ventilators.
- The FDA added an emergency resuscitator for the Fitbit Flow to the list of authorized ventilators, ventilator tubing connectors and ventilator accessories under the ventilator emergency use authorization (EUA). The Fitbit Flow is a continuous respiratory support system that includes an FDA-cleared Manual Resuscitator. The accessory is an AMBU bag with audible and visual alarms that aid the performance of the manual resuscitator for continuous breathing. This design is intended for use in treating patients with COVID-19.
- The FDA, in collaboration with the European Medicines Agency (EMA), provided procedural assistance to sponsors and applicants who anticipate submission of pediatric product development plans for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. In issuing this Common Commentary, the FDA and EMA aspire to streamline administrative processes and facilitate efficient submission of an initial Pediatric Study Plan (iPSP) and Paediatric Investigation Plan (PIP).
- The FDA recognizes the vital role of health professionals in the fight against COVID-19. In order to help health professionals quickly and easily access FDA resources, we created a new web page, titled Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Resources for Health Professionals. This page contains links to FDA emergency use authorizations; information about personal protective equipment and other medical products for use during COVID-19.
- Testing updates:
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has worked with more than 400 test developers who have already submitted, or said they will be submitting, EUA requests to the FDA for tests that detect the virus or antibodies to the virus.
- To date, the FDA has authorized 119 tests under EUAs, which include 103 molecular tests, 15 antibody tests, and 1 antigen test.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
- Lee Herring